In Nicherin Buddhism there is the idea of ten worlds existing within each person at all times. These are ten potential life-states in constant flux at every moment. The balance or imbalance of these states determines the nature of our responses to our inner and outer lives. The ten worlds are hell, hunger, anger, animality, tranquility, rapture, learning, realization, compassion and enlightenment.

In “Ten Worlds” video installation, ten 13” TV monitors, set up as a pyramid, were connected to one of ten separate video players, each with its’ own 24 minute edited tape. All ten video tapes where played simultaneously to represent imagined typical fluctuations of the ten life-states during a 24 hour period in the life of an individual. Clips from the same actress in different roles where used to represent each of the ten worlds. The actress is not the subject of the experience, but instead can be seen as a means of measurement, such as the mercury in a thermometer. This piece asks the question “What is under the surface as we take actions in our lives, moment by moment?”

“Ten Worlds” was originally exhibited at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions in 1988. It was subsequently shown at the American Film Institute in Hollywood, White Columns in New York and at New Langton Arts in San Francisco. It was sponsored by Panasonic and also by Mitsubishi Electric.

Ten Worlds, 1987,

10 monitor, 10 channel pyramid installation

Installation excerpt recorded at White Columns, New York, 1990.


Ten Worlds installation at the American Film Institute, Hollywood, 1988